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What do you put in your Gumbo?

I've been craving this lately, so I've been researching different recipes online. Most of them are red (tomato-based) however, I did have a white-based gumbo once about 15 years ago that was wildly good. Alas, I can't find a single recipe for that one online though.

So that leads meto ask, what do you put in your Gumbo?

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  1. I put Ham, Chicken, Shrimp and Andouoille. If I cannot get my hands on andouille, I'll throw in some smoked kielbasa. No okra--simply because my kids didn't like the okra in the gumbo when they were kids--although they will eat fried okra on the side. The only tomato that goes into my gumbo is two tablespoons of tomato paste. Along with the stock from the chicken, which had been previously boiled, I add some old bay seasoning and a dash or three of liquid smoke. Naturally I mix my green onion, celery and pepper with the very dark roux I make.
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...I gotta make some gumbo this week..thanks for the reminder!

    1 Reply
    1. re: jarona

      How long does it take you to cook the roux?

    2. I never add tomato. I prefer sea food gumbo with cracked crab ( suck the gumbo and meat right out of the shell pieces)
      It seems that today, Okra is almost a where/how one grows up.
      It's hard to believe that anyone raised in the south doesn't like okra(I grew up on the Texas Coast).
      Everyone that I knew ate it, but then again most everyone I knew liked buttermilk.

      1. Gumbo is nominated for dish of the month. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/869782

        Vote for it if you would like to see it featured in October.

        1. oysters, sausage and sometimes shrimp.
          roux and okra and file

          1. Usually: Trinity, Andouille, Roasted chicken (spiced), black roux, chicken stock, spices
            Sometimes crawfish instead of chicken (or in addition)
            Never tomato

            I am not sure how long it takes to make the roux. I think about one beer's worth. I do it until it is almost black. using instructions from Chef Francoise le Vison. I now have an automatic stirring thingie and I might try that next time I make it.

            1. Roux, trinity, okra, andouille, stock, spices, and shrimp. No tomatoes. Maybe substitute in some chicken or fish. Occasionally I even add kale, depending on who is joining us for dinner.

              1. no tomatoes. brownpenny roux, trinity, thyme, andoullie, chicken, really good, gelled homemade chicken stock. okra if in season. half a bottle of crystal hot sauce.

                  1. re: ritabwh

                    Mixing butter and flour and cook until right before the mixture turns color to make a 'white' roux. Then use the white roux to make white gumble by avoid adding anything that will darken the dish.

                  2. Trinity, brick-red roux, garlic, homemade chicken or shrimp stock, these go without saying right?

                    Variables depend on what's on sale for cheap: dark meat chicken simmered until it falls off the bone, andouille, kielbasa, sliced mushrooms, hot chiles (to substitute for bell peppers), smoked turkey legs, crab, white fish fillets, bay leaf, cayenne, lots of thyme, sometimes some allspice.

                    1. Depends, typically tomatoes, okra, trinity, garlic, bay leaf, medium roux, andouille, stock and pork or chicken sometimes with shrimp.

                      Game meat or beef, dark roux, stock, andouille, trinity, garlic, bay leaf, file. It's very meaty.

                      Seafood (shrimp, crab, turtle, gator), dark roux, stock, a little tomato paste, trinity, andouille, garlic, bay leaf, file, sherry and lemon at the end.

                      1. I've never put tomato in my gumbo. I just brown some sausage (and I'll use any kind that's slightly spicy) to render its fat, add a little more oil if necessary, then add an equal amount of flour, whisk forever, then switch to a roux spoon and cook until it's almost chocolate colored. Then I add my trinity and cook until all the veggies are soft (sometimes add garlic, too). After that, the stock, seasonings, then the meats (sausage and chicken). After those are really tender, I'll add shrimp and sometimes okra.

                        I've never had a white gumbo. To me, the roux has to be nice and dark to add that distinctive flavor.

                        1. Well, gumbo is one of those dishes that has many iterations, and almost every cook has her/his own spin. (But this is the first time I've heard of white-based gumbo, yet another riff.)

                          I live in New Orleans; my father, however, came from a long line of bayou-dwelling Cajuns. Here, we make some (loose) distinctions between Cajun (associated with rustic, rural cooking) and Creole (associated with more "refined," city-fied cooking) gumbo. But the lines are often blurred.

                          Although Creole gumbo usually contains tomatoes (tomatoes are a feature of much Creole cuisine), it is not tomato-based--that is, tomatoes are an ingredient, but not a main one, say, in the way okra might be. I've never had a tomato-based or a really "red" gumbo. Most--but not all-gumbos start with a roux, the desired color of which gets much debate (and for some people just depends upon what proteins are going into the gumbo). Cajun gumbo tends to start with a pretty dark roux.

                          As to how long the roux takes: you can achieve the same result in a few minutes or 3/4 of an hour. I make roux by adding flour to very hot peanut oil (heated on high for 5 minutes) and whisking furiously until it reaches the desired darkness, a technique I learned from Paul Prudhomme's first cookbook. It's all over in a few minutes (but requires steely nerves--and a good, heavy-bottomed pot). My mother, OTOH, cooks hers for a long time on relatively low heat, and it browns gradually.

                          I made cajun seafood-andouille gumbo last week--dark brown roux, trinity, spices, herbs, garlic, seafood stock, andouille, shrimp, crab, oysters, I serve it with brown rice, topped with sliced scallions. Here's a photo, albeit a poor one.

                          My mother makes very different seafood gumbo--just a little medium brown roux, trinity, s & p, bay leaf, garlic, okra, a couple of chopped tomatoes, shrimp stock, shrimp, crab oysters. (She's a Yankee, and claims her MIL talk her how to make gumbo, but my dad told me many times, secretly, of course, that that was NOT his mother's gumbo. LOL.)

                          Really, you can find just about anything in gumbo, and people will call all sorts of things "gumbo." I was once served one in Michigan that was full of tomatoes--and beans!

                          1. Made gumbo last night. Yummy! No tomatoes in our gumbo. Just made a roux and added chicken broth, onions, chicken, andouille sausage, fish, shrimp and okra. And a little bit of celery.

                            1. There are definite mainstays in my gumbo: trinity, dark roux, thyme, 3 peppers, but main ingredients change with the seasons. Summer I might do shrimp, crab and chicken with a ton of okra. Fall I'm definitely doing duck and sausage with some filé on the side if we're late in the year. Come winter gumbo is often a clean-out-the-fridge meal that I especially love with potato salad. I'm agnostic on the topic of tomatoes. I rarely add them, but every now and again I will.

                              1. I know this post is from about three years ago but it takes about 15 minutes to cook the roux on medium. I start out cooking on low for about 5 minutes and then gradually heat it the temperature up and the key is to keep stirring for the remaining 15 minutes. Once the roux is brown/dark brown then it is ready. I like my roux dark but some people people it on the brown side. Don't stop stirring while you are making your roux because it will burn.

                                1. It depends on (1) whether I'm following a recipe and if not, (2) whatever I want.

                                  Typically trinity, tasso, chicken, occasionally andouille. Duck if making a duck gumbo. Seafood if making a seafood gumbo. Sometimes tomatoes. Okra. If not okra, file at the end.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: SobaAddict70

                                    Golden brown roux cause I'm lazy, trinity, hot links, chopped up whole chicken, dried shrimp, bay leaf, okra, file.

                                    If I'm doing seafood, then shrimp, oysters, crab, hot links for the protein.

                                    Over rice not potato salad. Crystal or tabasco on the side.

                                  2. Roux, okra, shrimp, andouille and the trinity.

                                    1. Are you sure your white gumbo wasn't a chowder? I've never heard of a white gumbo before, and boy have I had a lot of gumbos.

                                      I was born and raised in Louisiana, and have lived in various parts of the state all my life, from central LA down to the New Orleans area where I have lived for the last 15 years, and I have picked up a lot of different recipes and techniques, and when most people here eat my gumbo, they say it's the best they've ever had. That's saying something when you live in New Orleans, but I'm not taking all the credit..... it's simply picking up the right techniques from those around you that do it right. That being said, there are a few things that generally hold true if you wish to make "authentic" gumbo:

                                      1) Always make a dark roux. Lighter roues simply have little to no flavor, and the flavor of the heavily toasted flour is where the bulk of the "traditional" gumbo flavor comes from. Aim for the color of milk chocolate. Some people like to use a dry roux and this is also acceptable if done correctly, though I generally use a traditional oil/flour roux. You must stir constantly to prevent it from burning, especially toward the end.

                                      2) There are 2 traditional types of gumbo. There is chicken and sausage, and there is seafood. Never combine them.... ever. Chicken and sausage compliment each other wonderfully, and other meats are OK in this type of gumbo as well, but it is always a mistake to add sausage to a seafood gumbo, regardless of how many people try to tell you that you can. Shrimp and crab are the two primary meats in a seafood gumbo (though it's perfectly fine to add any other seafood, depending on what you like), but the problem is they both have a VERY delicate flavor, and that delicate flavor is what you are spending mountains of money on. When you add sausage to it, the seafood simply soaks up the flavor of the sausage and you are left with something that costs you up to $10 per pound but just tastes like sausage. When spending the extra money to make a seafood gumbo, actually make it a seafood gumbo. Start your stock by boiling the shrimp heads and shells about 20 minutes and then strain them out. Then add the crabs and boil to finish off the stock. You will not add the shrimp themselves until about 5 minutes before you serve so they don't get tough from cooking too long.

                                      3) Never use tomato in gumbo..... ever. It just turns it into soup. It COMPLETELY changes the flavor, and it just really isn't gumbo anymore once you've added tomato to it.

                                      4) Use the right technique. If you are making seafood soak your seafood ahead of time in the refrigerator in salted water with a few drops of crab boil and lemon juice. Make your stock (either chicken or seafood) and use salt, pepper, bay leaf, cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chacheres), lots of garlic & onion powder and a little celery powder (they add something in addition to the fresh trinity), and if you can find it, add a little ground coriander. Poultry seasoning and thyme are great in chicken gumbo, and a little Old Bay Seasoning is a nice touch to seafood gumbo. You will want to use a generous amount of hot sauce as well. I prefer Crystal brand, Louisiana brand is a close 2nd. Some people like Tabasco, but personally I hate it - that all comes down to personal preference though. Once your stock is done, remove the meat to de-bone and add the sausage (for chicken) and add the okra to the pot and boil, while you saute your trinity and garlic. Add the picked chicken and the sauteed trinity to the stock and it's time to make your roux. I like to use a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet and a small hi-temp silicone spatula.... you can get every last spec of roux out of the skillet and into the pot that way - I hate waste :-) Stir in the roux and file and you're done. If you are making seafood gumbo, this is the time the shrimp go in and cook for 5 minutes.

                                      It's also worth noting, you should use about a cup of flour and about 3/4 cup of oil for a standard pot of gumbo. If you have the time to prep your stock a day ahead of time, and I highly recommend you do, you can make a lower fat version by skimming the sausage and chicken fat off the top of the refrigerated stock and using this as your oil for the roux.... regardless, never ever discard this fat as it has the majority of your flavor in it. If you don't have the time or you are making a seafood gumbo, I recommend using half butter and half neutral-flavored oil for sauteing your trinity and making your roux.

                                      I hope this helps!!